The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has issued an air pollution health advisory for the Twin Cities metropolitan area for Thursday, August 13. Increasing humidity levels and light southerly winds are encouraging fine particle production and transport into the region. Light winds in the area will limit dispersion. As a result, Air Quality Index (AQI) levels in the Twin Cities are forecasted to be high moderate on Wednesday and Thursday, with an expected peak AQI of 97. The MPCA issues an air pollution health alert when AQI levels reach 101.
Forecasted thunderstorms in the region Thursday evening and increased wind speeds are expected to improve air quality conditions to low-moderate levels for Friday, and AQI levels are expected to remain moderate throughout the weekend.
While most individuals will not experience health effects when AQI levels are moderate, those whom are especially sensitive to increased pollution levels should consider limiting exertion as levels approach the upper range of moderate.
Those who have respiratory or cardiovascular problems, young children, the elderly, and individuals whom are physically active are considered sensitive to elevated levels of air pollution. These individuals may need to postpone or reduce vigorous activity. Fine particles can be drawn deeply into the lungs, so reduce activities that lead to deep or accelerated breathing. Exposure to high levels of fine particles may cause individuals to experience chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing and fatigue. If you experience these symptoms contact your physician. Even individuals that are otherwise healthy may experience health effects when air pollution levels increase.
Motor vehicle emissions are a significant contributor to fine particle pollution. For improved air quality residents are encouraged to carpool, combine trips and using alternate means of transportation such as biking, walking, and mass transit. During air quality events residents should postpone the use of gasoline powered lawn equipment, abstain from recreational fires, and reduce their energy consumption.
For hourly air quality conditions and forecasts visit the MPCA AQI web site at: http://aqi.pca.state.mn.us/. Sign up to receive daily air quality forecasts and air pollution health alerts at http://mn.enviroflash.info.